Dec 05 2009

Realtor Screening

Realtor Screening- How can you find a good Realtor?

  •  A Realtor must be doing transactions currently and in the recent past in order to:

- know the market trends

- know current real estate laws

  • A Realtor should be able to provide at least five current references.

-If you are a buyer, make sure that you get buyer references.

-If you are selling, make sure that you get references from the Realtor’s clients that have sold their properties using the particular agent.

-Ask the references if the property closed on time.  Did they get the offer that they anticipated?  Were their issues that the agent could have handled better.  When you ask specific questions, you will be able to determine whether the experience was actually positive or if there were problems that would go undisclosed.

  •  Ask the Realtor for a letter of recommendation from the broker.  It is essential that the agent has a good relationship with the broker.  This also shows that the broker may be accessible if there are problems that need to be resolved.
  • Has there been any disciplinary action claimed against the agent?  Many states will post agents who have had complaints filed against them and any disciplinary action that has been taken.
  • How much will the agent charge you to represent them.  In many states it is assumed that the home seller will pay the buyer’s agent.  In states, such as Maryland the buyer agent agreement is actually unclear.  It assumes that the seller is going to pay, but does not specify.  There have been cases in which the buyer’s agent has collected from both the seller and the buyer, without disclosing this to the buyer first.
  • Ask the agent to produce comparables and a executive summary of their findings.  Agents often interpret information differently.  This does not necessarily mean that one agent is right or wrong, it simply gives insight to their thinking process and lets you know if you think that they can decipher the information that the computer will spit out to them.  This also helps prevents hiring an agent that is trying to get your business by telling you that you can get more for your home than other agents that you are interviewing.  Agents that sell you are not necessarily agents that will be able to get your home sold. 

-If you would like Real Estate Search and Sale LLC to pre-screen an agent for you please contact us @  write “prescreen agent” in the headline.

 If you select an agent that we pre-screen for you, you will be given $200.00 toward your closing costs.

We get paid by the agents we refer.  If you would like to send us a list of three agents that you would like screened, we will ask each of the agents if they are willing to pay a screening/ referral fee.  Most say, yes.  This program is only applicable if the real estate agent signs the screening / referral form.   The form states that they will be completely transparent regarding their prior transactions and that they are to document any issues that may have arisen along with an explanation.

After the screening process we email you our findings. 

When your title company/ closing agent is determined, you simply send us a note and we will send them, verification that we are paying $200.00 toward your closing costs or cash back at closing if allowed by the title company and your state law. 

Getting a professionally screened real estate agent the first time will can prevent some headaches in the long run.  An experienced agent knows many of the pitfalls and how to address them.

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Nov 03 2009

Property Insurance- Are you insured?

Published by Carolyn Thompson under Real Estate

Property Insurance Laws have changed in many states such as Maryland.

 Maryland recently passed a bill that states that the master insurance policy of condominiums and homeowner associations do NOT have to cover the individual units.

 Property owners are under the false assumption that they are covered.  They are NOT. 

Since the law has been passed stating that the master insurance policy does not have to cover unit owners, associations are filing for changes to their policies in record breaking numbers.

If you are not sure if you are covered under your master insurance policy, as your association to send you something in writing.

 I will work to get a bill passed that requires all associations to notify owners of any changes to their insurance policies.

 As always, your feedback, insight and support are appreciated.

Without the proper property insurance all of your assets may be at risk.

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Sep 24 2009

How Do You Find A Good Realtor?

Finding a good Realtor is a challenging task. 

 Agents that market themselves well are often perceived as “top agents”.  Top at what?  Top sales?  Okay, top sales for 2002?  Top sales for last month? 

It is simply a matter of spin.  Just like data from many charts and graphs.  You can take most reports and ask a question from a different perspective and get entirely different results.

 Hear is our secret to finding outstanding agents.  We look for agents that are active in their professional communities, who take the time to sit on boards and commissions.  An agent that is involved professionally is more likely to be in touch with market trends, laws and opportunities for their clients.

 We review their experience with prior clients.  We take the time to talk to their prior clients.

 We find that most buyers and sellers don’t take the time to call and verify the agents’ references.

 They are told to go out and interview three agents.  So they do and they end up with the agent who convinces them that they can sell their property for the highest price.  Great, they are great at sales, but the sad fact is that unless you live in a small town, or the property is in a niche market, it is unlikely that the same agent will bring in the buyer.

 Therefore, the only person the agent is selling is you.

 This does not get properties sold.

 Buyers’ agents and listing agents have two separate skills.  A buyer’s agent needs to be available to research and find great deals.  They have to be available anytime night or day to jump on an opportunity and write a contract.  In some states in can take hours to write a contract.  The agent needs to be willing to stay awake and do the work until it is done or another agent can get their contract accepted first.

 Think that it doesn’t happen in this market?  Think again. There are opportunities in every market. 

 Both the buyer’s agent and listing agent have to be pleasant and tough negotiators.  If they are not kind and they are not respectful, it is less likely that their contract will get accepted if they are a buyer’s agent or their property will be shown if they are a listing agent.

In addition both agents need to know real estate law and contracts.  They also have to have experience.  I can look through correspondence on numerous deals and point out where there could have been problems if the agent did not have experience. - In fact I will post them in future blogs.

 Aside from the skills mentioned, the listing agent needs to have serious marketing skills.  They need to create a buzz about a property before it is listed for sale or rent.   

Part of marketing a property is the packaging.  A property may have issues, but if it presents well then it is more likely to sell.  Consider a gift wrapped in beautiful paper and a hand tied bow.  The gift could be modest, but the mental anticipation has shifted. 

 Studies have found that when the same gift is given to different people, more people are pleased with a gift which is well presented. 

 Why do people take the time to look good for someone else, or before they go to a meeting.  It is all perception.

 Real Estate Search and Sale is available to help you locate a real estate agent at no charge.  In fact, if you select a Realtor from our network we will give you $100.00

How does this work?  Highly qualified agents have contacted us and would like to work with our clients.  In fact, they pay us a portion of their commission to work with you.


1). Agents want to work wit clients who know that they are prescreened.  This sends a message to the client that this agent has shown some level of skill and experience.

2). Agents are often good at selling property but not themselves.  As noted above, some agents who sell themselves are not great at selling property.  We all have a vested interest in helping you.

3). Agents love to work with us.  We are experienced agents and are involved in our communities.  We appreciate what it takes to be an agent that goes above and beyond for our clients. 

4). Agents know that once you meet with them, work with them and obtain your goals that you are likely to use them again and refer everyone you know.

We only benefit if you are happy.  Our system also relies on referrals from you.  Therefore it is in our best interest to ensure your satisfaction. 

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